Like most urban residents, I’m guessing, I’m neither here nor there when it comes to squirrels, ranking them in the same category as feral cats, slightly more appreciated than pigeons, but way less gratifying than the cardinals and goldfinches of my neighborhood. So when a squirrel showed up on my deck, yesterday, and started eating bread crumbs thrown out for birds, at first I was annoyed.
But because yesterday was Lilian Day, i.e. the day I spend with an in-the-moment toddler, I decided to take a moment or two to just watch this creature so close by. (Lilian was frightened by this bit o’ nature two panes of glass away and quickly returned to the inanimate toys in the next room.) It didn’t take long to realize there was something seriously wrong with our little deck visitor: He/she swayed back and forth as if drunk and occasionally keeled over. But did not stop eating. I am not the Jane Goodall of squirrels so do not know if that squirrel was starving or sick (or, in fact, actually drunk from eating fermented berries at his/her feet?), I just know he/she wolfed down every crumb!
Seeing this disturbing behavior, that urban pest became the object of pity, calling forth both my compassion and the sort of mindfulness that sometimes accompanies such love. Oh, yeah, I realized, it’s been a hard winter for squirrels, too. Oh, yeah, I realized again, we’re all inter-connected. This wondrous creature—and being so close allowed me to see every luminous hair—and I share this backyard, this neighborhood, this planet.
We are all one under one sun.